A Few Perfect Hours (Paperback)

And Other Stories from Southeast Asia & Central Europe

By Josh Neufeld (Illustrator)

Alternative Comics, 9781891867798, 108pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2004

List Price: 12.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

With gentle humor and a keen eye for revelatory detail, Neufeld explores religion and spirituality, politics and personalities, and the mysteries of everyday life. From the creator of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge and the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller The Influencing Machine: Brook Gladstone On the Media.

In A Few Perfect Hours (and Other Stories from Southeast Asia and Central Europe), autobiographical cartoonist Josh Neufeld takes us on a dramatic tour of places as exotic and different as Thailand, Singapore, and the former Yugoslavia. Highlights include Neufeld and traveling companion Sari Wilson's stint as extras in a Chinese-language Singaporean soap opera, a train trip through war-torn Serbia, and a near-disastrous cave adventure in Thailand.

With gentle humor and a keen eye for the revelatory detail, Neufeld explores religion and spirituality, politics and personalities, and the mysteries of everyday life. His stories reflect the backpacker's conflicted feelings: a yearning for adventure mixed with homesickness and a sense of disconnection, trapped in a reality constantly in flux.

In the collection's title story, Neufeld illustrates how the tensions and fears involved in travel through a strange country are dispelled by a Thai monk's blessing. In "On a Mission," Neufeld contrasts the viewpoints of American Baptist missionaries in northern Thailand with the traditions of a Buddhist festival. And the book's longest story, "Cremations, Cubicles, and Cant," is a brand-new 20-page tale about the death of Neufeld's grandmother, which contrasts her Jewish funeral service with a Balinese cremation ceremony; it forms the emotional heart of the book.

Evoking both Tintin-creator Herge and "comics journalist" Joe Sacco, "Neufeld's stories operate on a very human level, and his art reflects that with its careful depictions of people from different cultures and backgrounds." iComics] Throughout the collection, Neufeld uses the comics form to experiment with narrative and point-of-view. The themes and conventions of the eight stories in A Few Perfect Hours will resonate with readers both within and outside the comics world.

Comics Worth Reading observes that Neufeld's comics "provide a street-level view of other cultures, with nothing whitewashed. . . . The stories often remind us of the point of travelling -- to experience and come to terms with the unknown.


About the Author

Josh Neufeld: Josh is the creator of the Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated book A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, and the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller The Influencing Machine: Brook Gladstone On the Media. He was a longtime artist for Harvey Pekar's American Splendor.